Friday, May 09, 2008
FRESH MOREL MUSHROOM - I FINALLY TASTED IT!
I am a foodie. I like to taste different kinds of unusual culinary items(vegan items, of course). Well, I kept hearing how tasty morel mushroom is from DH. Every time we talk about mushrooms he mentions FRESH MOREL. It's delicious, he says, you got to try it! I had a chance to try it last week while we were vacationing to El Dorado Springs, Missouri, visiting my in-laws. It was apparently a morel season while we were there because the local newspaper featured how people in this area gather morel in the woods and found big ones.
Being lazy Californians(us) who always get produce from the supermarkets, instead of gathering morels in the woods, my MIL sacrificed going out early in the morning to a garage sale (yes, the folks in this area sell fresh morels in garage sales) to buy fresh morels for us, $7.50 per quart size bag. She even went back out again because she thought she should have bought more for my SIL. What a mother she is! BTW, Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Don't worry, we are not ingrates we gave her a gift certificate for a massage treatment she needed and lots of hugs!
I heard that people make money by selling fresh morel mushrooms and the price can go up to $80 a lb. in the city. I don't know if this was true or not but knowing that fresh chantrelle mushrooms are sold for $19.95 per lb. at a major supermarket in our area, I think it could happen with morels, too. Therefore, having fresh morels was a treat for us.
My MIL split the mushrooms into 2 and soaked it in water. She said for removing dirt or dead bugs nestled in the honey-comb like surface. Then, she spread them out to dry on clean towel.
We opted out to deep fry the mushrooms with soda cracker meal breading. I use soy milk and lemon juice mixture (replacing eggs or buttermilk) to soak the mushrooms then coated them with a mixture of soda crackers meal, salt, and pepper. My MIL used eggs to soak them in and coated them in the same dry mixturel.
It was quite delicious! I think it tastes like a combination of oyster and portabella mushrooms. If I can find fresh ones easily, I could have use them in many different recipes. Now, I tasted it, fresh morel mushrooms, after hearing about it for almost 20 years! I can buy dried morel anywhere but having fresh morel is truly an experience that a foodie is looking for!
In response to Emily's request (see comments), I entered the recipe. I also entered the non-vegan version of my generous MIL. I am still dreaming about fresh morel mushrooms!
Deep Fried Fresh Morel(Vegan and Non-Vegan versions)
Time: 30 minutes
1 quart fresh morels (about 1/2 lb)
2 cups soda cracker meals
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (cracker meal is already salty so be careful of adding too much salt)
1/8 - 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-inch vegetable/peanut oil in a cast iron pan for deep frying.
1 cup soy milk/other non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs, beaten
Split fresh morels into half. Soak them in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt and dead bugs. Drain and place them on clean kitchen towels to dry.
Mix soda cracker meal with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in the frying pan till 350F degrees. Use a deep fryer thermometer.
For vegan version:
Combine non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Wait for 1 minute. The milk will curdle like buttermilk. Soak each mushroom slice in this mixture. Then, drench each mushroom slice in soda cracker meal mixture. Deep fry each mushrooms until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the frying pan.
For non-vegan version:
Beat eggs in a small bowl. Soak each mushroom slice in the egg mixture. Then, drench each mushroom slice in soda cracker meal mixture. Deep fry each mushrooms until golden brown. Do not overcrowd the frying pan.